Submitted on Thursday, 4/12/2012, at 1:32 PM

April 10, 2012

Five Amherst alumni who are working as teachers will be on campus this Thursday, April 12, to be honored at a luncheon and then take part in a panel discussion entitled "Inspiring Our Future: Teaching as Life’s Work," from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Common Room of Charles Pratt Dormitory.

Through the generosity of the Class of 1954, which has established a Commitment to Teaching Fund, Amherst College awards stipends each year to a limited number of Amherst graduates who have been teaching for 10 years or less and have committed themselves to teaching in underserved communities across the United States. Brief bios of this year's Class of ’54 Commitment to Teaching Fellowship recipients are below.

Stephanie Gounder ’08 graduated from Amherst with a double major in political science and women’s and gender studies. In 2008, she joined Teach for America in South Louisiana and taught sixth- and seventh-grade English at Glen Oaks Middle School in Baton Rouge. She also served as the chair of the school’s Positive Behavior Support Initiative and received the 2010 Glen Oaks Middle School Teacher of the Year Award. In 2010, Gounder moved to Houston, Texas, to work as a seventh-grade English teacher at YES Prep Brays Oaks, an international studies school with the mission of sending 100 percent of its students to college. While at YES Prep, Gounder sponsored several extracurricular activities and founded the school’s library. Gounder currently serves as the school’s literacy specialist and teaches seventh-grade reading and reading/writing intervention courses.


Carline Kelly ’01 graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a major in English. During the summer between her sophomore and junior years, she traveled to Panama to volunteer at a residence for the elderly. After graduation, Kelly traveled to Barcelona for four months to complete a Spanish-language immersion program. When she returned, she began earning her master of arts in teaching English at Boston College, where she became interested in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). She took classes in second-language acquisition and bilingualism, in addition to her education and English graduate classes. Following graduation in 2004, she was hired as a full-time English teacher at Brighton High in Boston, where she completed her practicum. She has been an English teacher for eight years and began teaching ESL this year. Additionally, she is a teacher leader and a member of the Instructional Leadership Team at Brighton High and has provided training and support to student teachers for the past six years.


Daniel Gach '05 was born in West Nyack, N.Y. During his four years at Amherst, Gach completed his premedical requirements while majoring in economics. He swam all four years and was named captain of the swim team in his senior year. Upon graduating from college, he spent two years as a member of AmericCorps' ACE (A Community for Education), an early-intervention literacy program, where he worked with bilingual first-graders in east Austin, Texas. It was in these two years that he realized education was his calling and east Austin was the community he wanted to serve. Gach has spent the last five years as a primary ESL teacher at Govalle Elementary. He has helped the community and the school by sitting on campus advisory councils and PTA boards and by founding the first ever Dad's Club in his vertical team. Gach loves Govalle and hopes to continue serving his community for a long time.


Helen Dole '04 has had a strong interest in science since fourth grade, when she participated in a "classroom Crime Scene Investigation." Ever since then, she has enjoyed science fair projects and traveling around the world to investigate the science of the earth. Dole majored in geology at Amherst College and joined the New York City Teaching Fellows in 2004 as a member of their Science Cohort. She earned her master's of science in teaching from Pace University by taking night classes. During the day, she taught at the School for Democracy and Leadership in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. After six years of middle school science teaching in Brooklyn, she joined Renaissance School of the Arts in Manhattan, where she has been the seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher for two years. Aside from teaching, she loves running and traveling. She's run the New York City Marathon three times and traveled around the world, to places such as Ecuador, St. Lucia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Ireland, France and South Africa.


Lisa Glazer '03 grew up in Guilford, Conn., and spent her middle and high school years in Shaker Heights, Ohio. At Amherst, she majored in history while exploring a wide variety of classes, especially in music and german. She sang in the Women’s Chorus and worked at the Mead Art Museum as a docent. Glazer wrote her honor’s thesis on the creation of the German Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. After graduation, she took a job as an assistant teacher in a fourth-grade classroom at Germantown Friends School. This sparked her interest in education, and she spent the next year in a one-year intensive master's program in elementary education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her mathematics professor suggested that she pursue teaching middle school mathematics, and so, despite having taken no math courses at Amherst, she became a math teacher. From 2005 to 2009, she worked at a variety of schools in Philadelphia, including a struggling inner-city middle school and a progressive independent school, and finally she became one of the founding teachers of a new charter school. In the summer of 2009 she married Christopher Vecsey ’03 and moved to Boston. She currently teaches eighth-grade math at the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School. In July of 2010, her daughter, Ellaria, was born. Glazer is honored to receive this award and is excited to have a dialogue about education with other members of the Amherst community.